Football, bicycles, hashtags: how women are reclaiming public space


On a sultry weekday afternoon, 16-year-old Bhavna came flying out on her bicycle, a blur of black and yellow prints, enmeshed with the black and red of her bike, smelling overwhelmingly of freedom. The narrow alleyways of Madanpur Khadar, a lower-middle-class locality in the Indian capital New Delhi, is just about getting used to seeing girls on bikes for the last few years. Girls, in this locality, usually stay at home and go out to school or on household chores, chaperoned by a male member. In 2009, a local non-profit, Jagori, donated five bicycles to Bhavna and her four friends. Today in Khadar there is a growing gang of girls on bikes, running household chores, commuting to schools or just racing each other and the boys for fun. There is also a new sense of equality among the boys and girls in the neighbourhood. “It is about equality but it is also about staking a claim on male-dominated public spaces”, says Suneeta Dhar, Director of Jagori. READ MORE

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